This article is part of our MMA Best Bets series.
The UFC remains at the UFC Apex after having last weekend off for American Thanksgiving. In the main event of UFC Vegas 44 on December 4, top-five bantamweights collide as Rob Font takes on Jose Aldo.
In this series of articles, I'll share my favorite play, an underdog pick, a prop, and a two-fighter parlay I like. All lines are taken from DraftKings online sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
Alonzo Menifield (11-2) vs. William Knight (10-2)
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight
Since the first fight has been booked, I was on Menifield, and that hasn't changed. If anything, my stance has only furthered. Although Menifield has two disappointing performances against Devin Clark and Ovince Saint Preux, he made some changes and in his last fight and proved he can go 15 minutes.
Although both Menifield and Knight have KO power, I trust Menifield more, as Knight gets hit a lot and his lack of grappling is a worry. I wouldn't be surprised to see Menifield go out there and wrestle him for 15 minutes, but in all likelihood, Menifiled goes out and finds the KO shot. I think he should be above -200, so to get him at -165 makes it a play.
The Play: Alonzo Menifield (-165)
Claudio Puelles (10-2) vs. Chris Gruetzemacher (15-4)
Weight Class: Lightweight
Puelles impressed me a lot in his last fight as he dominated Jordan Leavitt in his first fight in two years. Although Gruetzemacher did impress me as well in his last fight, he does leave a lot to be desired as he does get hit a lot.
I expect Puelles to use his grappling here, as Gruetzemacher only has a 61 percent takedown defense while Puelles averages 3.35 takedowns per 15 minutes. It won't be the most exciting fight, but he should be able to grind out a decision win.
The Play: Claudio Puelles (+100)
Brendan Allen (17-4) vs. Chris Curtis (27-8)
Weight Class: Middleweight
Although Curtis had an impressive UFC debut where he knocked out Phil Hawes as a big underdog, Allen is much better than Hawes. Allen is very durable and has great cardio, wrestling, and striking. Even though Curtis did get the stoppage win over Hawes, he was getting picked apart early on.
I expect Allen to be able to piece him up and then take him down, where he can either find the submission or get a ground-and-pound TKO win. Curtis just isn't on Allen's level, and that will become evident here.
The Play: Brendan Allen ITD (+120)
Alex Morono (20-7) vs. Mickey Gall (7-3) &
Azamat Murzakanov (10-0) vs. Philipe Lins (14-5)
Weight Class: Welterweight & Heavyweight
Morono vs. Mickey Gall was a late addition to this card, but Morono is miles better than Gall everywhere. Gall won't be able to get Morono down, and on the feet, the Fortis MMA product is a very technical striker that also has KO power. I expect Morono to just piece up Gall on the feet for three rounds and win a dominant decision.
For my other leg, I'm backing Azamat Murzakanov to defeat Jared Vanderaa, who took this fight on short notice. Vanderaa gets hit a lot, and his striking defense leaves a lot to be desired. Although Murzakanov is more of a KO artist, he has a clear path to victory with the wrestling if he decides to go that rout. Regardless, Murzakanov will be too much for Vanderaa on the feet and will get a TKO or dominant decision win.
The Play: Morono & Murzakanov parlay (+112)